What inspires you? Where do you find it? Is it music? Books? Films? Sport? People?
This month I've had plenty to inspire me, putting me in a good frame of mind with the world.
I don’t read enough. I used to read a lot more and now I spend time on social media instead. So I’ve been buying books in an effort to reverse the situation. I do love The Folio Society so their new editions of 1984 and Wuthering Heights arrived last week and I can’t wait to get started - two of my all time favourites. I read both at school and they remain amongst the most vivid books I’ve ever read. These luxurious editions are somewhat indulgent but they’ll get me back into the habit so it’s money well spent.
But first I’m reading the late Hans Rosling’s book, Factfulness. If you’re not familiar with this wonderful man’s work or the Gapminder programme, I urge you to watch some of his TED talks or TV interviews where he reveals how a fact-based approach to thinking can change the way our often stressful view of the world impacts on our lives. The book is a joy to read, it really does turn around our conceptions about the state of things by a) describing the world factually and showing how much better things are than we believe and b) examining why our world view is so skewed towards negativity. I love this approach. For all of the great benefits of a mindfulness way of living, I find factfullness much more in tune with me.
Feeling better about the world is something music can also enhance and this month both the BBC Philharmonic at Bridgewater Hall and Joan As Police Woman at Stoller Hall have done just that. The BBC Phil’s programme of Strauss, Mark Simpson and Shostakovich was stirring and beautifully performed - they’re such a great orchestra. The Simpson piece was a world premiere too so that was pretty exciting. At the other end of the musical scale, I think this was the fifth time I’ve seen Joan As Police Woman live and, once again, she didn’t disappoint. I’ve rarely seen a performer with such stage presence and command of her material. Her voice is astounding and her songs are beautiful, strong and moving. I love this one of the latest album, Damned Devotion. As one of the best live performers around, she's a talent I wish everyone knew about, so it was great to see Stoller Hall's glorious room sold out.
I also need to catch up with some recent films although I did manage to see Isle of Dogs at HOME this month. Being a massive dog lover and a Wes Anderson fan (sometimes), this was the perfect film for me. It had me grinning from ear to ear throughout and made me want to get home and cuddle my girl Dusty. It was also really nice to have lunch at HOME this week with Tony Elliot, founder of Time Out and, therefore, my former boss from when I worked on the Manchester version. He's a throughly nice chap and started Time Out on his own with just £70. That's pretty inspiring.
Finally, I work with a great company called Result CIC. They’re great because of what they do and they’re great because my husband started it with his business partner Jane and former co-director Andy. Every time I think the world of arts marketing is stressful, I consider the people Result CIC works to support, offering as they do coaching and training to marginalised people. You hear their stories, get a glimpse into their lives, and my worries seem trivial. Here’s one of them, in a short and very quickly made video.